Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Healthy writing on the menu at Massey

Healthy writing on the menu at Massey

When it comes to health, ‘we are what we read’ may be just as important as ‘we are what we eat,’ according to Massey University health writing specialist Dr Raquel Harper.

Consumers are increasingly bombarded with complex, and at times contradictory, information about health across multiple media on a daily basis – via the popular press and their own Google searches. And if our health status is linked to our health literacy, then the quality of the information we rely on to make decisions is crucial, she says.

From weighing up if the Paleo, or Caveman, diet is the ultimate path to good health; or how to reduce cholesterol, have more energy, keep fit, avoid cancer, diabetes, heart disease and dementia etcetera – the inexorable flow of facts can leave the average punter feeling perplexed and overwhelmed.

“There’s so much information out there now – it’s hard to know what’s credible and what’s not,” says Dr Harper, whose research spans West Nile Virus to the role of electronic cigarettes.

A new paper in health writing she is launching this year at the Albany campus aims to address health consumers’ knowledge gaps and confusion. It trains humanities and science students in how to evaluate health research so they can then identify the key findings. They also learn how to translate scientific jargon into succinct, clear language so that readers can easily comprehend the implications.

Dr Harper was born in New Zealand and has spent most of her life in Europe and the United States. She began her career with a degree in physiotherapy at Western Washington University, followed by a Master of Science in Technical Communication, and a doctoral degree in Public Communication and Technology, both at Colorado State University.

“I’m really interested in helping the public understand health and science information; and helping health and science scholars understand how to better communicate to the public,” she says. “I started out in physiotherapy, but realised that what I really enjoyed was researching and writing about different health and science topics.”

Dr Harper has recently published her research on the creation of a comprehensive health literacy assessment tool for measuring health literacy in young adults, and has investigated the social acceptability of electronic smokeless cigarettes. She has also written health and science articles for

several publications, including Biophotonics International and the National Cancer Institute.

A perfect way to marry her twin interests in science and writing, she says health writing “is still a niche area. But the demand for good science and health writers is growing as patients’ voices and choices expand.”

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Interest Rates: Wheeler Hikes OCR To 3% On Inflationary Pressures, Eyes Kiwi

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler lifted the official cash rate for the second time in as many months, saying non-tradable inflationary pressures were "becoming apparent" in an economy that’s picking up pace and he's watching the impact of a strong kiwi dollar on import prices. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Equity Crowd Funding Carries Risks, High Failure Rate

Equity crowd funding, which became legal in New Zealand this month, comes with a high risk of failure based on figures showing existing forays into social capital have a success rate of less than 50 percent, one new entrant says. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Migration Rises To 11-Year High In March

The country gained a seasonally adjusted 3,800 net new migrants in March, the most since February 2003, said Statistics New Zealand. A net 400 people left for Australia in March, down from 600 in February, according to seasonally adjusted figures. More>>

ALSO:

Hugh Pavletich: New Zealand’s Bubble Economy Is Vulnerable

The recent Forbes e-edition article by Jesse Colombo assesses the New Zealand economy “ 12 Reasons Why New Zealand's Economic Bubble Will End In Disaster ”, seems to have created quite a stir, creating extensive media coverage in New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Thursday Market Close: Genesis Debut Sparks Energy Rally

New Zealand stock rose after shares in the partially privatised Genesis Energy soared as much as 18 percent in its debut listing on the NZX, buoying other listed energy companies in the process. Meridian Energy, MightyRiverPower, Contact Energy and TrustPower paced gains. More>>

ALSO:

Power Outages, Roads Close: Easter Storm Moving Down Country

The NZ Transport Agency says storm conditions at the start of the Easter break are making driving hazardous in Auckland and Northland and it advises people extreme care is needed on the regions’ state highways and roads... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news